Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Had Roses and Apologized to No One

my sick station
I've been holed up in my guest bedroom with a "flu-like virus" and a fluctuating fever of over 100 degrees since Sunday afternoon. Most recent record was 103.8 degrees and the scale says I've lost 5% of my body weight. This is the worst I've physically felt in memory. I haven't been able to keep any real food down and haven't gone to work all week. It's been an interesting contrast to the last time I took some time off, right after my baby girl was born in October.

I've been reminded of the phrase at the title of this post, "I had roses and apologized to no one", from everybody's favorite libertarian superhero V for Vendetta. There is a character dying in prison of a deadly disease, but instead of dwelling on her current state, Valerie remembers back to the few good years she had before her world went bad. So I've decided, while I'm in my sweaty, hacky, drug filled state, I'd like to remember those 3 weeks in October:

looks this good overdue
By October 10th my wife Traci was already 3 days overdue, so we decided to get out of house, grab a bite to eat out and buy me some khaki corduroy pants I'd been wanting for so long. When we got home I gave my wife free reign on a movie selection. She choose a classic Traci favorite, The Break-Up. I guess we were prepping for our real tears with some celluloid ones.

taking a stroll,
pausing for contractions
Traci starting feeling labor pains in the middle of the night Thursday morning. For the next 20 hours or so, we labored in the house with our doula and walked around the neighborhood. The actual process of contractions, although very intense, were, in my wife's own words, "not as bad as expected". And I really enjoyed the bonding of going through it together.

not all newborns are that cute 
The last hour or so of the birth was a different story. This is the only part they show in movies because it is super intense. My wife did amazing job and at 3:32 am Friday, October 12th Traci gave birth naturally to Mae Harper Brookie. 20.5 inches and 6 pounds 4 ounces, long and thin just like her parents.

about to leave
Our plan was to spend as little time at the hospital and get to the comfort of our new home quickly. However, I was blown away at the quality of the midwives, nurses, lactation consultants, etc (though the rumors of bad food were true). I've concluded that the last big innovation in medicine is great customer service.

resting on the porch
We got home with Mae on Sunday and thus began a wonderful 2 weeks at home together (in fact I'd been so busy leading up to the birth I hadn't really spent a full day in our new house yet). The 3 of us trying to figure out eating, sleeping, and soothing together. Cuddle naps with Mae while my wife lifeguarded to ensure everyone's safety. Friends and family brought us delicious meal after delicious meal and they were all so sweet to Mae.

family of Kiko the new baby giraffe
We mostly kept ourselves during this time, with a few trips to the outside world. Some strolls around neighborhood, church, a meal out with my family, and even got a chance to walk downtown, baby strapped to me, to say goodbye to a friend moving away. And Halloween is always more fun with a baby. I ended up only missing one Alchemy show, but the theater ran just fine without me.

Like the bad times, the good times are mostly out of our control. A year ago I came to Greenville saddened by my work load, the impossibility of finding a house we could agree on, difficulty getting pregnant, and the improv community I left behind in NC. And here I am a year later with all of those desires fulfilled. I embraced the reality of suffering then, and I embrace the reality of joy now. We shouldn't brag on the upswing or be ashamed on the down. Stop and enjoy the roses you've been given and hold on to them for the future. Apparently my baby has been smiling up a storm the last few days. I look forward to seeing it in person myself. Here's a teaser for us:

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